Imani Perry (African American Studies) has received the 2022 National Book Award for Nonfiction for “South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation” (HarperCollins/Ecco Press, 2022). The mission of the National Book Foundation is to celebrate the best literature published in the United States, expand its audience and ensure that books have a prominent place in our culture.
“Alabama now has a National Book Award,” said Perry, a native of Birmingham, accepting the award in front of a live audience at the National Book Award ceremony, held Nov. 16 in New York City, with a speech that included a thank-you to Princeton’s Department of African American Studies, among a generous list of acknowledgments.
She said: “We may write in solitude but we in labor in solidarity. Community is never easy but absolutely necessary, may we meet the challenges of a broken world together, making intercessions with love unbound and heart without end.”
“South to America” is a narrative journey through the South, maintaining that one must understand the region in order to understand America.